With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

ACF 2037: Remembering Shintarô Katsu on his birthday

Shintarô Katsu as Zatoichi

Today marks the 82nd anniversary of the birth of Shintarô Katsu. Born Toshio Okumura on  November 29th, 1931 in Fukagawa, Tokyo, Japan, Katsu is one of the most beloved Japanese actors. His IMDb credits list him as an actor in 121 films. He also has twenty credits as producer, seven as director, and four as writer. He died on June 21st, 1997 in Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.

He is, of course, most well known for his role as Zatoichi, the blind masseur, yakuza and swordsman, in twenty-five films and several TV shows. Another of his notable roles was as Hanzo 'The Razor' Itami in three films released 1972-1974. This character is an incorruptible and unorthodox magistrate who is prodigiously endowed. He pounds his ample meat and rams it into sacks of uncooked rice to toughen it up, so that he can maintain his rigidity while "interrogating" female suspects.

Katsu as Hanzo "The Razor"

Just a few days ago, The Criterion Collection released the awesome box set Zatoich: The Blind Swordsman. It contains 25 movies on both DVD (seventeen discs) and Blu-ray (nine discs). Supplements are on both a separate eighteenth DVD and on the ninth Blu-ray disc. There is also a slim hardcover book that has an essay by Geoffrey O'Brien, synopses of the films by Chris D., and "The Tale of Zatoichi," the original short story by Kan Shimozawa. To say it's an awesome box set is an understatement.


Barnes and Noble is offering the Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman box set (as well as all other Criterion releases) at 50% off, but only through the end of November. So act immediately if you want to take advantage of this incredible bargain. Otherwise you'll have to wait for the next 50% off offer from Barnes and Noble or from Criterion to enjoy such a great deal.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

ACF 2036: VIZ to release DVD and manga editions of POKÉMON THE MOVIE: GENESECT AND THE LEGEND AWAKENED on Dec 3rd

GEKIJO BAN POCKET MONSTERS SHINSOKU NO GENOSEKUTO MEWTWO KAKUSEI © 2013 Momota INOUE/SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF
POKÉMON THE MOVIE: GENESECT AND THE LEGEND AWAKENED
DVD AND MANGA EDITIONS

The Mysterious Genesect Pokémon Return After 300 Million Years And
Trouble Brews After They Attract The Attention Of The Legendary
Mewtwo In The Latest Pokémon Feature Film Adventure

VIZ Media gives POKÉMON fans something brand new in time for the holidays as it announces the release of the DVD and manga editions of POKÉMON THE MOVIE: GENESECT AND THE LEGEND AWAKENED on December 3rd.

The single-disc DVD release of the feature film is rated ‘TV-Y7’ and will carry an MSRP of $19.97 U.S. / $24.98 CAN. While supplies last, copies of the DVD will include a POKÉMON trading card as a special bonus for collectors. The manga adaptation of POKÉMON THE MOVIE: GENESECT AND THE LEGEND AWAKENED will be published by VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint, rated ‘A’ for All Ages, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

When big trouble threatens the big city, it’s up to Ash, Pikachu, and their friends to stop it! A vast Pokémon habitat amid the hustle and bustle of the big city seems like the perfect new home for a group of five Genesect. The arrival of these Mythical Pokémon quickly becomes a problem, though: their nest threatens the city’s power supply, and they keep attacking anyone who approaches it. On top of that, they’ve attracted the attention of the legendary Pokémon Mewtwo, who sympathizes with them because its own origins also involve human tampering. Their leader, a red Genesect, doesn’t trust Mewtwo, and their confrontation quickly rages out of control! Can Ash and friends stop these two powerful Pokémon before they destroy the city?

© 2013 Pokémon. © 1998-2013 PIKACHU PROJECT. 
TM, (R), and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.

“When a group of mythical and powerful Genesect Pokémon suddenly reappear in the world and threatens the city, it will be up to Ash and Pikachu to save the day!” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “GENESECT AND THE LEGEND AWAKENED is the latest film in the legendary POKÉMON movie storyline, and fans will want to be sure to join the fun with Ash, Pikachu and other favorite characters in these fun new DVD and manga editions that will be available to fans in time for the holidays!”

POKÉMON is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time with over 241 million video games sold worldwide in addition to extraordinary publishing and merchandise sales. The next generation of Pokémon video games, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, launched worldwide in October exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS system. VIZ Media distributes a wide array of POKÉMON animated titles and also is the exclusive North American publisher of POKÉMON manga.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ACF 2035: Remembering Bruce Lee

Bruce Jun Fan Lee
Born November 27, 1940, San Francisco
Died July 20, 1973, Hong Kong

Bruce Lee was the single person most responsible for reinventing and reinvigorating the Asian martial movie and making the genre popular in the United States and other western countries. He would have celebrated his 73nd birthday today if he had not died such a tragically early death in 1973.

Born in the U.S. to Chinese parents who were touring with a Chinese opera company, he grew up in Hong Kong, but returned to the U.S. in 1959. Most accounts attribute his return to his father's concern for his safety after Bruce got in a fight with the son of a feared Triad [Chinese criminal gang] member. He majored in Philosophy at the University of Washington, where he met his future wife Linda Emery. They later had two children. Son Brandon Lee, was born in 1965 and died in a tragic weapons accident on March 31, 1993 while filming The Crow. Daughter Shannon Lee, born 1969, has worked as both an actress and as a producer. Interestingly her first credited film role was as the "Party Singer" in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, the rather under-rated 1993 bio-pic in which Jason Scott Lee starred as her father.
Lee was the real deal - a true martial arts master. He developed his own martial arts system, known as Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist. A non-formalized style, it emphasized "practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency." [source: Wikipedia]

Lee appeared in films from a young age because his parents were in Chinese opera. However, it was in the United States, after he began teaching martial arts to such film stars as Steve McQueen and James Coburn, that his career really began. He starred as Kato in the 1966-67 television series The Green Hornet. Reportedly, he felt that his future in Hollywood was limited after he was passed over for the role of Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu TV series, a role that went instead to David Carradine.

While John Saxon (left) looks on, Bruce "connects" with a left to Bolo's face during the filming of Enter the Dragon

Bruce returned to Hong Kong, where film producer Raymond Chow offered him the lead in Tang sha da xiong, or The Big Boss in English. The film was a huge hit, as were his next two films. But it was with Enter the Dragon, co-financed by Warner Brothers, that Bruce's international reputation was immortalized. The final fight in the room of mirrors is one of the most iconic of all martial arts film sequences.

Sadly, Bruce died before the film premiered. He was visiting actress Betty Ting Pei, who gave him one of her prescription pills because he had a headache. He had an adverse reaction, could not be revived, and died later that day of cerebral edema.

Bruce is most fondly remembered for:

The Big Boss (a.k.a. Fists of Fury), 1971
Fist of Fury (a.k.a. The Chinese Connection), 1972
Way of the Dragon (a.k.a. Return of the Dragon) 1972
Enter the Dragon, 1973
Game of Death, 1978 (Most of this film was shot after his death using a stand-in for Bruce. Still, the last sequence, as the real Bruce fights his way up a pagoda, facing increasingly difficult opponents on each successive floor, is fantastic. It plays like a series of boss fights in a live action video game.)

Only the first two of these were released in the United States prior to his death.

Enter the Dragon is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Brothers.

For years the other four films could be found only in the DVD box set Bruce Lee: The Master Collection from 20th Century Fox, which also included a bonus disc of documentary footage. Only the dubbed versions of the films were included.

Shout Factory recently released Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection which has eleven discs, four Blu-ray and seven DVD. The set includes The Big Boss, Fist Of Fury, Way Of The Dragon and Game Of Death, all on both DVD and, for the first time, Blu-ray. Also included are two documentaries Bruce Lee: The Legend (and the original version Bruce Lee: The Man, The Legend) and I Am Bruce Lee plus a bonus disc with over two hours of bonus content exclusive to this set. For those interested, here is a direct link to Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection at Amazon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ACF 2034: CAUGHT IN THE WEB opens tomorrow in NYC, Dec 6th in Los Angeles & other markets

21 Century Shengkai Film
and levelFILM
present
Caught in the Web
Directed by CHEN Kaige
Written by CHEN Kaige and Danian TANG
China, 2012, 117 minutes

Caught in the Web is a contemporary drama helmed by veteran Chinese director CHEN Kaige, whose previous works include such notable films as Farewell My Concubine (1993),  The Emperor and the Assassin (1998), and The Promise (2005). It will open in the U.S. tomorrow, Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at the Village East theater in New York. The film is slated to open in Los Angeles and other markets on Friday, December 6th. (Check local listings.)

YE Langui (GAO Yuanyuan) is the executive secretary to SHEN Liushu (WANG Xueqi), the CEO of a large Chinese company. Before work one morning, she goes for a medical exam for health insurance and is confronted with the astonishing news that she has advanced lymphatic cancer. Arrangements are made for her to be admitted to a hospital to begin treatment in a week, although the prognosis is grim.

On the 812 bus, YE Lanqui refuses to give up her seat to an elderly gentleman.

Proceeding to work on a bus, YE is understandably absorbed in her thoughts. When she refuses to give her seat to an elderly man, she becomes the object of scorn and derision by other passengers. Aspiring television reporter YANG Jiaqi (WANG Luodan) uses her cell phone to record the incident on video.  She follows YE after she gets off the bus and videos a brief interview of her.

Arriving at work, YE requests a week's leave and a substantial loan from SHEN, without giving any indication of why she needs the time and money. Breaking down at one point, she is gently comforted by SHEN. Just then his wife, Mo Xiaoyu (actress CHEN Hong) comes in the room. Convinced that her wealthy and powerful husband is having an affair with YE, she storms out of the office. SHEN, agrees to give YE the loan and time off that she's requested. Although he will subsequently display the arrogance that often arises from wealth and power, he has a not-inconsequential vein of decency as well.

CHEN Ruoxi (left) and YANG Jiaqi

Meanwhile YANG Jiaqi has shown her footage to CHEN Ruoxi (actress YAO Chen), a TV and Internet producer who realizes it's potential and takes credit for it. YAO is in a relationship with YANG Shoucheng (actor Mark CHAO), who is Jiaqi's cousin and who was with her on the bus. The three of them are currently sharing an apartment

The bus footage goes viral and YE, who initially is identified only as "Sunglasses Girl," is widely reviled for her behavior. Of course, this reaction occurs without the knowledge of the horrible news she had just received from the doctor. YE's situation is made even worse after she is not only identified but also accused by an anonymous caller of being a home-wrecker who is sleeping with her married boss. This situation also leads to problems for SHEN and the company he heads, because it is now known that YE, a.k.a. "Sunglasses Girl," was his secretary.


Over the following week, YE tries to escape from both her medical problem and the increasingly viscous media scrutiny to which she is being subjected. SHEN has to deal with the concomitant public relations problems that have arisen at a crucial point in negotiations related to an important business merger, as well as with his very unhappy wife. Meanwhile Jiaqi, Ruoxi, and Shoucheng have their own various related issues.

In Caught in the Web, international award-winning Chinese director CHEN Kaige has created a brilliant new addition to world cinema, a timely, pertinent and on the money film about the piranha-like feeding frenzy of the media and the webizens it serves. It's most auspicious first release from newcomer levelFILM. With its universal themes, I'll be amazed if the rights for a Hollywood remake of Caught in the Web  aren't snapped up quickly, unless they already have been.

ACF Rating: 4 out of 4 stars; highest recommendation.

Monday, November 25, 2013

ACF 2033: ZOMBIE TV - latest from gore-master Yoshihiro Nishimura

A crowd of zombies are just looking for a good time in ZOMBIE TV. (All images © 2013 Pony Canyon)

ZOMBIE TV is the splatter-ific new comedy, zombie omnibus film from the fertile and twisted mind of acclaimed cult filmmaker and special effects makeup genius Yoshihiro Nishimura (TOKYO GORE POLICE, HELLDRIVER, THE ABCs of DEATH).

Maki Mizui is the world's first zombie idol in "Pink Zombie"

A Monty Python-esque collection of shorts, animation, sketch comedy, instructional videos and more, ZOMBIE TV showcases the natural evolution of zombies in the 21st century, no longer a frightening menace, but rather an annoying neighbor you realize you simply have to put up with. ZOMBIE TV answers such natural questions as: in a world full of the undead, wouldn’t some of the surviving humans want to join the majority and become zombies themselves? Would becoming a zombie solve the emotional and relationship problems we all have as living, breathing human beings? Do zombies have their own idols? Would zombies worship a zombie god? Who would win in a fight: a cannibal, or a zombie? How did zombies evolve from walkers into runners? And the most burning question of all: how do zombies have sex?

Tomoya Maeno fulfills his last wish with well-endowed zombie Ayumi Kuroki, in "I Want to Be a Zombie!"

Nishimura has created ZOMBIE TV with the assistance of a new pair of filmmakers he’s excited to introduce to the world: award-winning splatter short film director Naoya Tashiro, and artist / animator Maelie Makuno. Bringing very different tastes and styles to their episodes, the trio have created a fun, fast-moving film that captures the feeling of flipping through late-night TV in a world gone mad. Structured to entertain without tiring out its audience, ZOMBIE TV provides food for thought—if that food were human guts and brains. Sure to delight zombie fans old and new, ZOMBIE TV offers a new- found appreciation for our walking dead friends.

Yasu Genki and Iona show viewers—in graphic detail—"How to Zombie Sex"

ZOMBIE TV held its World Premiere at Monsterfest in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, November 24th at 4:30pm local time, and will screen at film festivals across the world in early 2014.

ACF 2032: Sectin23 Films announces its February 2014 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its February slate of releases, including the second exciting season of the epic series AKB0048! Get ready for a battle of the bands with AKB0048 Next Stage which will be available on both DVD & BLU-RAY.

Product details follow, in order of release.

Title:                 AKB0048 NEXT STAGE
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         325 min.
Street Date:      2/4/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS:  The road trip to war has already been brutal for the 77th generation of understudies to AKB0048, the combination singing group and combat squad seeking to bring peace and entertainment back to the universe.  However, the competition between the individual candidates, as well as the remaining 75th and 76th generation understudies, is about to get even rougher.  With the opportunity to become a successor to one of the original members of the legendary singing squad hanging in the balance, the fights on stage and on the battlefield will become even more cutthroat, and things are only going to get nastier when it turns out that someone has been feeding critical information to the opposing DES forces.  Will the revelation of the source of the Kiraras prove to be a deadly misstep in the intricate choreography that's allowed the team to keep dancing out of danger?  Will public opinion prove to be more important than actual skill and valor as the squad undergoes a series of grueling trials by fan?  The harmony and harmonization that's held this band of sisters together will be pushed to the breaking point in AKB0048: NEXT STAGE!


Title:                 AKB0048 NEXT STAGE BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         325 min.
Street Date:      2/4/2014
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $69.98

SYNOPSIS:  The road trip to war has already been brutal for the 77th generation of understudies to AKB0048, the combination singing group and combat squad seeking to bring peace and entertainment back to the universe.  However, the competition between the individual candidates, as well as the remaining 75th and 76th generation understudies, is about to get even rougher.  With the opportunity to become a successor to one of the original members of the legendary singing squad hanging in the balance, the fights on stage and on the battlefield will become even more cutthroat, and things are only going to get nastier when it turns out that someone has been feeding critical information to the opposing DES forces.  Will the revelation of the source of the Kiraras prove to be a deadly misstep in the intricate choreography that's allowed the team to keep dancing out of danger?  Will public opinion prove to be more important than actual skill and valor as the squad undergoes a series of grueling trials by fan?  The harmony and harmonization that's held this band of sisters together will be pushed to the breaking point in AKB0048: NEXT STAGE!


Title:                 DARK DESIRES
Published by:    Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         209 min.
Street Date:      2/4/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $29.98

SYNOPSIS: Onimata Kan is famous for two things: a successful career writing S&M erotica, and hosting the erotic gatherings aboard the Slave Ship, where the main attraction is the auctioning of the services of sexual partners willing to fulfill any desire.  But when he learns that one of the frequent auctionees has gone insane, Onimata goes to investigate, and soon discovers that his own writings only hint at the extremes to which some will go in THE SLAVE SHIP! She's tantalizing and irresistible, but those who've had affairs with the beautiful Mari have all expired prematurely.  Uemura tries to fight his attraction for her, but he's already in the jaws of a trap designed to suck men dry and spit out the husks.  For Mari's husband is all too aware of who's been sleeping in his wife's bed, and what follows will pull Uemura into a world of bondage and depravity in THE CURSE - M! When former sex slave Kumiko joins the editorial desk at a small newspaper, the most deeply kept secrets of the leader of a religious cult suddenly begin finding their way into print.  Even more shocking, however, are the repercussions for the paper's sales manager and his elegant wife Shizuyo, who finds herself strung in the rope bonds of twisted lust and inhuman bondage in THE DEVIL'S FEAST! From the pen of internationally acclaimed bondage novelist and screenwriter Oniroku Dan (FLOWER AND SNAKE) come three feature films that dare to explore the darkest secrets of human sexuality in DARK DESIRES - The Oniroku Dan Collection!


Title:                 MM! COMPLETE
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      2/11/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: There are twisted tales and twisted tails, but few are as twisted as poor Sado's, who's just realized that he LIKES being made miserable.  Of course, knowing that only makes him more miserable, which in turn…  Well, you get the idea.  Desperate to break the perverse cycle, Sado volunteers for a special club where he hopes he can work through his issues.  And though he probably should have expected as much, imagine his consternation when he discovers that the other members have equally… complex… issues to deal with.  For example, the hyper-aggressive club president Isurugi not only has a violent fear of cats, but also believes herself to be a god!  Then there's Yuno, who's terrified of men; the nurse who forces other people to perform cosplay; and Hayama, Sado's best friend and a compulsive cross-dresser, who's also the girl that Sado is infatuated with.  (We did say it was complex, remember?)  If you think you've seen EVERYTHING that can happen in an anime, prepare to have your eyes opened to FULL anime size as you enter a whole new paradigm with MM!  (it's pronounced "Emu Emu!")!


Title:                 MM! COMPLETE BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      2/11/2014
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $69.98

SYNOPSIS: There are twisted tales and twisted tails, but few are as twisted as poor Sado's, who's just realized that he LIKES being made miserable.  Of course, knowing that only makes him more miserable, which in turn…  Well, you get the idea.  Desperate to break the perverse cycle, Sado volunteers for a special club where he hopes he can work through his issues.  And though he probably should have expected as much, imagine his consternation when he discovers that the other members have equally… complex… issues to deal with.  For example, the hyper-aggressive club president Isurugi not only has a violent fear of cats, but also believes herself to be a god!  Then there's Yuno, who's terrified of men; the nurse who forces other people to perform cosplay; and Hayama, Sado's best friend and a compulsive cross-dresser, who's also the girl that Sado is infatuated with.  (We did say it was complex, remember?)  If you think you've seen EVERYTHING that can happen in an anime, prepare to have your eyes opened to FULL anime size as you enter a whole new paradigm with MM!  (it's pronounced "Emu Emu!")!


Title:                 SMOKEY & THE BUSHIDO
Published by:    Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         75 min.
Street Date:      2/11/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Nami's still the hottest trucker in Japan, but now there's a new contender for the title of Queen of the Road!  Meet Ayano, the toughest highway patrol officer to ever fill out a bulletproof brassiere and Nami's former high school gang rival!  However, a certain truck driving mama isn't the only target this smoking-hot smokey has in her sights.  There's a deadly drug hitting the market and someone's transporting it across Japan via unwitting truckers.  Does that sound like a good enough reason for two ex-delinquents to set aside their mutual differences and put a little pedal and metal up some gangster butt?  Maybe, but not all road trips have happy endings, and the payoff at the end of this run could prove lethal.  Expect some heavy girl on girl friction ahead as the brakes give out, the undercover action heats up and a crazy string of tips, gas and drugs paves the way for Nami's wildest ride yet!  What we have here is some serious disrespect for the law as the whole trucking crew from BIG BAD MAMA-SAN returns in SMOKEY & THE BUSHIDO


Title:                 HIDAMARI SKETCH SEASON 1 BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         350 min.
Street Date:      2/18/2014
Format:             BD
Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Yuno has dreamed of attending Yamabuki Arts High School for years.  But now that she's been accepted, there's the scary prospect of moving away from her home and family for the first time!  Fortunately, Yuno quickly learns that, even if her new neighbors at the eclectic Hidamari Apartments aren't technically family, at least the majority share the bond of being fellow art students.  Between second year students like Hiro and Sae, who try to behave like helpful older sisters, and Mako, her hyperactive new neighbor, classmate and best friend, Yuno will never find herself alone.  And that's a good thing since she'll need a solid support network to deal with strange characters like her oddly masculine landlady, her cosplay obsessed home room teacher, her tooth-chattering principal and all of the other odd denizens who inhabit her chosen world of art.  It won't be easy, and it won't always be pretty, but with her friends at her back, Yuno's going to reach for her sketchbook in HIDAMARI SKETCH!


Title:                 TIME BOKAN: ROYAL REVIVAL
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         60 min.
Street Date:      2/18/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $19.98

SYNOPSIS: The Japanese public goes crazy when it's announced that the beloved and long running classic anime Time Bokan will be remade.  There's just one problem: the original show was broken into multiple separate series featuring multiple teams of heroes pitted against multiple teams of almost identical villains, so how to choose which ones will star in the remake?  Unwisely discarding the idea of a public opinion poll, the producers instead insanely opt for a race between the bad guys in their favorite mecha.  Which might not be a completely bad idea, except for the fact that they're all cheaters and saboteurs, and none of them have ever created a mecha that didn't eventually self destruct in an extremely violent fashion!  In a race between these born losers, the only winner is the audience as the villains from Time Bokan, Yatterman, Zenderman, Otasukeman, Yattodetaman, Ippatsuman and Itadakiman compete for the dubious privilege of getting the **** beaten out of them once again!  It's Grand Theft Mecha Vs. Super Moron Kart as the baddies slam, bash and dirty trick each other to the finish in TIME BOKAN: ROYAL REVIVAL!


Title:                 TIME BOKAN: ROYAL REVIVAL BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         60 min.
Street Date:      2/18/2014
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $29.98

SYNOPSIS: The Japanese public goes crazy when it's announced that the beloved and long running classic anime Time Bokan will be remade.  There's just one problem: the original show was broken into multiple separate series featuring multiple teams of heroes pitted against multiple teams of almost identical villains, so how to choose which ones will star in the remake?  Unwisely discarding the idea of a public opinion poll, the producers instead insanely opt for a race between the bad guys in their favorite mecha.  Which might not be a completely bad idea, except for the fact that they're all cheaters and saboteurs, and none of them have ever created a mecha that didn't eventually self destruct in an extremely violent fashion!  In a race between these born losers, the only winner is the audience as the villains from Time Bokan, Yatterman, Zenderman, Otasukeman, Yattodetaman, Ippatsuman and Itadakiman compete for the dubious privilege of getting the **** beaten out of them once again!  It's Grand Theft Mecha Vs. Super Moron Kart as the baddies slam, bash and dirty trick each other to the finish in TIME BOKAN: ROYAL REVIVAL!

Title:                 DI GI CHARAT WINTER GARDEN
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         60 min.
Street Date:      2/25/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $24.98

SYNOPSIS: Things have changed a bit for Dejiko, the alien princess who came to Earth to become a famous idol singer.  She's grown up and her teens are practically a memory, though her sidekick Puchiko still has a few years to go before becoming an official "adult."  They don't wear their cat ears anymore, and the affectation of sticking nyo or nyu on their sentences got old along the way as well.  And the game store?  That's in the past as well.  Instead of cooking up mischief, Dejiko works in a local bakery.  And yet, there's still something strange and mystical about her.  But will that be enough to draw the attention of a handsome young man she first accidentally encounters in the park?  It had better be, because Di Gi Charat is about to discover the most powerful Earth magic of all.  Love hits Dejiko and it's going to hit her hard, as the original saga concludes in Di Gi Charat: Winter Garden


Title:                 GIRLS UND PANZER OVA SPECIALS
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         74 min.
Street Date:      2/25/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $29.98

SYNOPSIS: The girls from Oorai are back in six special episodes!  And whether they're shopping for swimsuits, camping out or doing the Ankou Dance, they bring their own special brand of Tankery to the task at hand.  There's also a tour of the Oorai school ship, a look at what REALLY happened while Yukari and Erwin were out doing reconnaissance and a team talent contest that's not to be missed!  It's a very special collection featuring everyone's favorite Tankery girls: GIRLS UND PANZER Specials!


Title:                 GIRLS UND PANZER OVA SPECIALS BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         74 min.
Street Date:      2/25/2014
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $39.98

SYNOPSIS: The girls from Oorai are back in six special episodes!  And whether they're shopping for swimsuits, camping out or doing the Ankou Dance, they bring their own special brand of Tankery to the task at hand.  There's also a tour of the Oorai school ship, a look at what REALLY happened while Yukari and Erwin were out doing reconnaissance and a team talent contest that's not to be missed!  It's a very special collection featuring everyone's favorite Tankery girls: GIRLS UND PANZER Specials!


Title:                 LOVE, ELECTION & CHOCOLATE COMPLETE
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      2/25/2014
Format:             DVD
Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $49.98

SYNOPSIS: In Japan, participation in extra-curricular activities is as fundamental a part of an education as chalk and gym shorts.  However not all students are overachievers, and for those like Yuki Ojima, groups like the Food Research Club are welcome havens in which to slack-off.  But what's a slacker to do when the radical new candidate for Student Council president announces her intent to get rid of clubs like the FRC?  Well, getting the help of the current Student Council president is a good start, but HIS suggestion is so counter-intuitive that it's crazy: Yuki's going to run for the Student Council himself!  And yet, it's SO crazy that it just might work.  Especially when Chisato, the chocolate-adverse president of the FRC, not to mention Yuki's best childhood friend, and members of other targeted school clubs start to join the swelling FRC army.  But can this army of goofs and goof-offs coast all the way to political victory?  Or will someone have to step up to the plate and take one for the term?  They may savor victory, they may taste defeat, but you're certain to eat up LOVE, ELECTION AND CHOCOLATE!


Title:                 LOVE, ELECTION & CHOCOLATE COMPLETE BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      2/25/2014
Format:             BD
Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: In Japan, participation in extra-curricular activities is as fundamental a part of an education as chalk and gym shorts.  However not all students are overachievers, and for those like Yuki Ojima, groups like the Food Research Club are welcome havens in which to slack-off.  But what's a slacker to do when the radical new candidate for Student Council president announces her intent to get rid of clubs like the FRC?  Well, getting the help of the current Student Council president is a good start, but HIS suggestion is so counter-intuitive that it's crazy: Yuki's going to run for the Student Council himself!  And yet, it's SO crazy that it just might work.  Especially when Chisato, the chocolate-adverse president of the FRC, not to mention Yuki's best childhood friend, and members of other targeted school clubs start to join the swelling FRC army.  But can this army of goofs and goof-offs coast all the way to political victory?  Or will someone have to step up to the plate and take one for the term?  They may savor victory, they may taste defeat, but you're certain to eat up LOVE, ELECTION AND CHOCOLATE!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

ACF 2031: Film Society of Lincoln Center to present OZU AND HIS AFTERLIVES film series

Tokyo Story / Tokyo Monagatori (1953)
 THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
to present
OZU AND HIS AFTERLIVES
December 4 - 12

Series includes restorations of Ozu classics EQUINOX FLOWER
and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON as well as Ozu-influenced films
by Pedro Costa, Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Jim Jarmusch,
Aki Kaurismaki, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Wim Wenders

From December 4th to 12th, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting Ozu and his Afterlives, a program honoring the work and legacy of the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (1903 – 1963). Timed to the 110th anniversary of Ozu’s birth and the 50th anniversary of his death on December 12, 2013, the series will celebrate the legendary filmmaker’s work as well as his indelible influence on some of today’s most notable directors.

“Ozu’s greatness can never be asserted often enough,” said Dennis Lim, the Film Society’s Director of Cinematheque Programming. “In this anniversary year, we wanted to recognize his modernity and his eternal relevance by showing two of his final color works, which happen also to be two of his most beautiful. We are presenting them alongside a wide range of more recent movies that were, in some way, made with Ozu in mind. These are all films that — to borrow a phrase from the director Claire Denis — grew under the shade of Ozu.”

The focal point of Ozu and his Afterlives will be the U.S. premieres of restorations of two exquisite color films by Ozu, EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962), newly restored by the Japanese studio Shochiku to commemorate this anniversary year. The films screen seven times each during the nine-day series. The program also includes films by contemporary directors—from Jim Jarmusch to Pedro Costa, who once called Ozu’s films “documentaries about mankind”—that bear some trace, obvious or subtle, of the great Japanese master.

A great formalist as well as a great humanist, Ozu began his career in the silent era. Early on, he developed a spare, distinctive style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese and Hollywood cinema, and that he continued to refine and intensify through the final stage of his career. In his rigorous yet deeply expressive films, Ozu minimized camera movement and shot from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and rejected standard editing patterns.

Often called “the most Japanese of all directors,” Ozu has long held a special place in the pantheon of master auteurs, not least among fellow filmmakers (his TOKYO STORY was recently voted the best film of all time in Sight and Sound’s directors’ poll). “If in our century, something sacred still existed, if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu,” said Wim Wenders, whose TOKYO-GA screens as part of this series. “For me never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image in which he not only recognizes himself, but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.”

The films that will be screened alongside EQUINOX FLOWER and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON are Claire Denis’s 35 SHOTS OF RUM (2008), Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s CAFÉ LUMIERE (2004), Pedro Costa’s IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000), Aki Kaurismaki’s THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s STILL WALKING (2008), Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) and Wim Wenders’s TOKYO-GA (1985).

Tickets are now available for purchase on www.FilmLinc.com. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Discount packages start at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more.

Films will be screened at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam).

For information about all the films that will be shown in the series, including schedules and links to purchase tickets, click here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

ACF 2030: VIZ offering free digital ONE PIECE retro to eligible users

ONE PIECE © 1997 by Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA CELEBRATES ONE PIECE, THE WORLD’S TOP SELLING
MANGA SERIES, WITH A FREE DIGITAL ONE PIECE RETROSPECTIVE

The High Seas Pirate Adventure By Eiichiro Oda Has
More Than 345 Million Copies In Print Worldwide

VIZ Media has announced a free gift to fans and users of its VIZManga.com digital manga website and VIZ Manga App with the release of the ONE PIECE RETROSPECTIVE. The new digital edition celebrates an important milestone, as ONE PIECE has become the world’s top selling manga series of all time with over 345 million copies in print.

The special digital retrospective for the pirate adventure series created by Eiichiro Oda will be given as a free premium to all currently registered VIZ Manga.com and VIZ Manga App users, as well as to new members that sign up between November 21st and 27h. Fans can sign up at VIZManga.com and also explore ONE PIECE volumes available for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, and Android-powered smart phones and tablets (including Kindle Fire).


The ONE PIECE Digital Retrospective features five exclusive, full color art spreads, as well as a comprehensive collection of covers for all 69 ONE PIECE volumes. The edition also features a personal interview with creator Eiichiro Oda and one-shot STRONG WORLD, the manga short where fans will find out what the world of ONE PIECE looked like over 20 years ago in a time before Luffy was even born. The ONE PIECE Digital Retrospective will only be available digitally for fans for a limited time.

“ONE PIECE has achieved something very significant and the sales milestone speaks to the strong international appeal of the enduring characters and gripping story that Eiichiro Oda created that are universally loved in multiple countries by millions of fans of all ages,” says Andy Nakatani, Editor-in-Chief, WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP. “The continuing spread of digital technology will bring these action packed high-seas adventures to even more readers. We’d like to thank the legions of ONE PIECE readers and VIZ Manga users and also interest new ones with this special ONE PIECE Digital Retrospective.”

Readers are invited to catch the latest ONE PIECE manga chapters, released in English on the same day as their Japanese counterpart, in the pages of VIZ Media’s digital WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga magazine. ONE PIECE anime episodes also currently air in North America on Adult Swim’s Toonami as well as on VIZAnime, VIZ Media’s own free website for streaming anime content, and other outlets including FUNimation.com, HULU.com, and OnePieceOfficial.com.


As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. The only drawback? He'll never be able to swim again – a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the "One Piece," said to be the greatest treasure in the world...

ONE PIECE creator Eiichiro Oda began his manga career at the age of 17, when his one-shot cowboy manga, Wanted!, won second place in the coveted Tezuka manga awards. Oda went on to work as an assistant to some of the biggest manga artists in the industry, including Nobuhiro Watsuki (RUROUNI KENSHIN), before winning the Hop Step Award for new manga artists. His pirate adventure ONE PIECE, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1997, has become one of the most popular manga in Japan and the rest of the world.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform, registered users are able to use one account to access their purchased titles across more devices than ever. The platform features a massive library of the most popular manga series in the world, with over 1,700 volumes across more than 170 different series. All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application starting from $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) each.

For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

Friday, November 22, 2013

ACF 2029: WEDDING PALACE movie is a big success in Hawaii


From the WEDDING PALACE page on Facebook:

"Wedding Palace," finishing up its seventh week in Hawaii theaters, is now one of the most successful Korean genre films theatrically released in the islands. The film just opened Friday at Maui's Kaahumanu Consolidated and will open in Hilo on Nov. 29. Already it has made more than $40,000 in tickets sales and is on mark to hit $50,000 in the coming weeks. Said director Christine Yoo, "Since 'Wedding Palace' was inspired by my family in Hawaii, I'm thrilled that the movie has been a success there! The movie was recently picked up by a major Hollywood studio for cable VOD (video on demand) and no doubt, the success in the aloha state helped to make this happen."
~ Honolulu Star Advertiser

Now Playing
Kaahumanu Consolidated Theatres
10:50a, 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:50

Consolidated Theatres - Pearlridge West Pearlridge
10:30a, 12:45, 3:00:, 5:15, 7:30, 9:50

Nov 29-Dec 3 Hilo Palace Theater

Theatrical trailer:
http://youtu.be/F-m4OaIGmuM

ACF 2028: Dr. Butterfly - A New Musical at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Dr. Butterfly - A New Musical
Book adapted by Jin Young Kim
Based on the play by Eui Kyng Kim
Music by Sun Ha Kim, Joseph Baker, and Jin Young Kim
Directed by Jin Young Kim
Choreography by Danny Pelzig

Last night, courtesy of the Korean Cultural Service New York, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the third and final performance of Dr. Butterfly - A New Musical at Jazz at Lincoln Center. In music, lyrics and movement, it depicts the life and work of Dr. Joo-Myung Seok, a Korean entomologist who lead extensive field work and mapped the ecological distribution of butterflies on the Korean peninsula in the mid-20th Century. He was also a noted linguist and a pacifist.

Seok was born in Pyongyang (now in North Korea) on November 13, 1908. Like virtually every Korean, he suffered during the period of Japanese colonialism from 1910 until Japan's defeat at the end of World War II in 1945. His book A Synonymic list of butterflies of Korea, was published in 1940 by The Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. This marked the first time for a Korean to be sponsored by the British Royal academy. Early in the Korean War, while attempting to protect his samples of butterflies during a period of chaos, he was mistakenly taken to belong to the North Korean's People's Army and shot. He died on October 6, 1950, a month shy of what would have been his forty-second birthday.


Although the musical fictionalized some aspects of Seok's life, it was essentially true to his contributions to the classification of the butterflies of Korea. The musical's two primary leads, Sung Hwan Park as Seok and Yun Jung Choi as Ji-Min, who assisted and loved him, were both outstanding in their roles. Seung Yean Cho was also strong in the supporting role of Ryoung-Cheol Lee, who loved Ji-Min and came to hate Seok because he was the sole object of Hi-Min's affection. The members of the chorus are also to be highly commended.

Both my wife and I enjoyed the performance very much. It was the first time either of us had seen any such work performed in the Korean language. Video monitors to the left and right of the stage provided English subtitles of what was being said and sung.

Dr. Butterfly - A New Musical was organized and presented by the Korea Institute of Performing Arts for Youth. It was supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy of Korea and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York. Special support was provided by Korean Cultural Service New York. The musical was produced by the Hyundai Theatre Company.

ACF 2027: Limited edition Blu-ray and DVD combo packs for anime action thriller "K" coming Feb 2014

©GoRAGoHands/k-project
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY AND
DVD COMBO PACKS FOR THE KINETIC ANIME ACTION THRILLER “K”

A Case of Mistaken Identity Embroils An Easygoing Teenager In A
Deadly War Between Seven Infamous And Bloodthirsty Clans

VIZ Media thrills fans as it announces the release of the psychological anime action thriller – K – as a special Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, as well as a standard DVD edition, on February 25th, 2014.

The acclaimed 13-episode series is rated TV-MA and will be offered as a special 4-Disc limited edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with an MSRP of $69.99 US/CAN. The set also includes a full-color 80 page premium art booklet containing individual episode synopses, character profiles, poster art, translated song lyrics, an exclusive KANAME☆ K cosplay photo gallery, and much more! The standard edition 2-disc DVD set will be offered at an MSRP $44.88 US/CAN.

K introduces viewers to Shiro, an easygoing teenager content with just being a student – until his seemingly perfect life is suddenly halted when a bloodthirsty clan, glowing red with fire, attempts to kill him in the streets. Unbeknownst to Shiro, he is suspected of murdering a member of their clan and will need a miracle to escape their vengeance. Miraculously, a young man named Kuroh Yatogami swings in and aids Shiro in his getaway, only to reveal afterward he's also after Shiro's life. Now a hunted man, Shiro will have to evade the clans of seven powerful kings and desperately try to prove his innocence – before it’s too late!

An extensive collection of bonus material makes this K release a must-see for anime fans. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack will come packaged in a luxurious collectible specialty print chipboard box holding the art booklet and disc case. Limited Edition combo pack extra features include: VIZ Presents an Interview with KANAME☆, an insightful segment with one of Japan’s most popular professional cosplayers during his first-ever U.S. guest appearance to celebrate the debut of K at Anime Expo in Los Angeles in 2013; a KANAME☆ as Fushimi Photo Gallery; special K Day Events and convention highlights from Anime Expo including the VIZ Media K panel with cast, staff and special guests; exclusive English cast and crew interviews; the series’ original Japanese and English trailers; and clean opening and ending segments (with English translated and subtitled options), next episode previews and more.

K was developed by GoHands, the noted studio that also created the cyberpunk anime film series, Mardock Scramble, and the enigmatic writers’ collective, GoRA Project. VIZ Media premiered K in North America on its VIZAnime.com streaming service on the same day as the Japanese broadcast debut and the series continues to grow in popularity in rotation on the company’s Neon Alley 24/7 anime channel.

“Filled with gorgeous imagery, attractive characters and an engaging story from GoRa and GoHands, K became a viewer favorite during its simulcast premiere and subsequent runs on Neon Alley,” says Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “With such a fantastic fan response, we're pleased to have K be our first Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack title. With such beautiful packaging and loads of extras, we hope fans will become as excited about this upcoming release as we are!"

For more information on K and other animated titles from VIZ Media visit www.VIZAnime.com.

ACF 2026: Sci-Fi Fantasy Anime series ACCEL WORLD is coming to Blu-ray & DVD on November 26th

© REKI KAWAHARA/ ASCII MEDIA WORKS/ AW Project
VIZ MEDIA BRINGS THE ACTION IN NEW BLU-RAY
AND DVD HOME VIDEO EDITIONS FOR THE
SCI-FI FANTASY ANIME SERIES ACCEL WORLD

From Reki Kawahara, The Creator Of SWORD ART ONLINE,
A Bullied Teen Finds Power And Strength In A Virtual Reality
Video Game; Special Premium Art Booklet Included As A Free
Gift With Purchase From Select Online Anime Retailers

VIZ Media invites fans to accelerate with the home video release of the ACCEL WORLD anime series on DVD and Blu-ray on November 26th. The new 2-disc set features 12 episodes of the sci-fi fantasy series, is rated ‘TV-14,’ and carries a DVD MSRP of $44.82 U.S. / 43.24 CAN; Blu-ray MSRP is $59.97 U.S. / $66.15 CAN. Preorders are available now through select retailers.

A special 48-page premium art booklet featuring art and character profiles from this popular series and is also included (only while supplies last) as a special free gift with purchase from select online anime retailers including Right Stuf, Anime Pavilion, and Robert’s Anime Corner Store.

© REKI KAWAHARA/ ASCII MEDIA WORKS/ AW Project

ACCEL WORLD dialogue features include English and Japanese stereo audio, English subtitles, as well as a character art gallery, clean opening and closing segments, and the original Japanese broadcast trailers.

In the year 2046, people use portable devices called Neuro-linkers to manage their daily lives in virtual reality networks. But advances in technology haven't managed to do away with bullies, and 13-year-old Haruyuki Arita finds himself a frequent target. Haruyuki escapes his miserable life in virtual games – until the day Kuroyukihime, the most popular girl in school, introduces him to a mysterious program called Brain Burst and a virtual reality called the Accel World. This set contains Episodes 1-12 on 2 discs.

© REKI KAWAHARA/ ASCII MEDIA WORKS/ AW Project

“ACCEL WORLD is the hottest new anime title to join the VIZ Media home video library and we are very excited to also offer it to buyers with a gorgeous, full-color bonus art booklet that is only available for a limited time through select anime retailers,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “This series blends a highly imaginative online game with real world impact and adds a new twist to one teen’s solution to being bullied. ACCEL WORLD quickly became a fan favorite since VIZ Media debuted it on the same day as its Japanese broadcast and we look forward to the series drawing in new and veteran fans alike with this exciting release that arrives in time for the start of the holiday season.”

ACCEL WORLD is based on a series of popular light novels written by Reki Kawahara (Sword Art Online) and was produced by the famed anime studio Sunrise (TIGER & BUNNY, Mobile Suit Gundam, Code Geass, Cowboy Bebop, KEKKAISHI). Kawahara entered the first novel in the series into ASCII Media Works' 15th Dengeki Novel Prize in 2008 and won the Grand Prize. ACCEL WORLD has also inspired a popular manga series and several video games.

For more information on ACCEL WORLD and other animated titles from VIZ Media please visit www.VIZAnime.com/accelworld.